France seeks to emulate Italy in blocking COVID-19 vaccines from the EU (European Union). They claim there will do so if that’s what is needed to enforce its contracts with the manufacturers.
Europe is trying to defend its mechanism on vaccine solidarity, and the new nation supporting them is France. This all happened after the EU backed the Italian authorities after they stopped a large shipment of COVID-19 doses intended for Australia following the longstanding feud with AstraZeneca, a drug manufacturer.
The EU clarified that they didn’t target Australia. They wanted to ensure that AstraZeneca delivered the agreed numbers of vaccine doses before the drug manufacturer could start shipping to other EU countries.
EU Commission Chief Spokesman Eric Mamer said that there is a need to understand that the European Union is a major exporter of COVID-19 vaccine doses.
In January, the EU announced that it was implementing an export control mechanism that would stop all vaccine deliveries outside the bloc. This was after the drug manufacturers failed to deliver the agreed number of doses, making the EU’s vaccine campaign face dose shortages.
The EU chose this path to force the COVID-19 vaccine companies to respect their contractual obligations of meeting the required number of doses in the first agreement.
The ban mechanism was put into action on January 30, but the EU has clarified that they have approved 174 vaccine export requests to 30 different countries located outside the EU. But that doesn’t mean they are happy with AstraZeneca producing short doses than promised.
The EU expected AstraZeneca to produce 80 million doses in the first quarter of this year. But the company is yet to make even half that quantity. That’s why they are upset with the drug manufacturer for not meeting its initial contract.
Mamer said that they believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is an important element on their portfolio, and therefore, they expect the delivery of the agreed doses as soon as possible.
He added that they are working with the drug companies to ensure that they deliver the agreed number of doses for the European Union. And any companies that meet its initial agreed vaccine doses quantity will not have any problems with exports.
There have been frustrations over the slow delivery of doses, forcing several countries to look for an extra supply of vaccines outside the EU joint procurement setup. The drug companies show production issues and delays in deliveries, which has created division in European nations.
It started with Italy blocking more than 250,000 doses being shipped to Australia by AstraZeneca. France backed Italy’s decision after French Health Minister Olivier Veran argued that he understood the Italian’s government move and said that if France was in a similar situation, they could do the same.
Veran said that the more doses they receive, the happier he will be as a health minister. He also stated that France would support its European counterparts until all the contracts with drug companies are enforced.
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